One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cookbook Review: Ani's Raw Food Desserts by Ani Phyo

The heat-index is heading well into the 100s not only in Georgia but all up and down the East and West Coasts. When it’s this hot outside turning on the oven to make a batch of cookies, a big cake or a few brownies seems more like punishment than reward. This is why I love raw desserts. They usually don’t require a dehydrator, are quick and easy to make and use fresh produce and natural sugars to bring sweet treats to the table.

Ani’s Raw Food Desserts by Ani Phyo couldn’t have showed up on my doorstep at a better time. I was in the middle of a huge sugar craving that fruit just wouldn’t cure and had just jumped head-first into a bowl of cookie dough – unashamed. Looking through Ani’s Raw food Desserts made me feel guilty about my cookie dough indulgence with desserts like Bonbons and mango sorbet which would have surely curbed my sugar craving without the use of refined sugar and large quantities of Earth Balance.

Ani Phyo makes raw foods approachable and simple in this book. All it took to make her Key Lime Kream Bars (which I’ve been slowly eating for the past 2 weeks) was a blender and a casserole dish. I didn’t even have to go out and buy any super fancy specialty items from Whole Foods. Her Key Lime Kream Bars can be converted into Bonbons as well. I wasn’t sure about the taste to creamy key lime with chocolate but the two worked perfectly together. Her liquid chocolate recipe called for cacao power but I cheated and used unsweetened cocoa powder and everything still turned out amazing. The liquid chocolate recipe is also my new go to chocolate sauce recipe. It’s perfect for dipping strawberries in or even making bon bons out of store bought ice cream like So Delicious Coconut Ice Cream. Next up was Ani’s Vanilla Cacao Crunch Ice Mylk, which kind of reminded me of a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Once again, she used easy to find ingredients that I already had around the house so I not only made the classic version but the mint chip variation by adding a couple drops of peppermint oil and a little cocoa powder. Four recipes in I realized that I was in love with everything frozen in her book and had to move on or my review for you fine folks would be a little one-sided.

I decided cupcakes were the next logical step in my raw desserts odyssey. I made Ani’s Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Kream Cheeze Frosting. This recipe does require a juicer to get carrot pulp. However, many moons ago before I had a juicer I used to get carrot pulp by grating carrots with the food processor grating blade then pulsing them in the food processor with the S-blade until they resembled a pulp. I’m pretty sure there’s a typo in this recipe because it calls for mixing whole medjool dates into the cupcakes which isn’t very pleasant so I ground in my dates with almond meal in a food processor and it came out perfectly. They were naturally sweet, and chocked full of veggies and nuts. My CSA also still has an abundance of lavender so I had to make the Lavender Chocolate Bars which were to die for! The great thing about the majority of the recipes in this book is that you can freeze a lot of them for up to a month. So I went on a dessert making spree for two days and then just stacked all my pre-made desserts in the freezer. I take them out about 3-5 minutes before I’m ready to enjoy and voila! Instant, amazing, healthy desserts. Just to recap. My top 5 recipe from Ani’s Raw Food Desserts are:

Key Lime Kream Bars
Bon Bons
Vanilla Cacao Crunch Ice Mylk (and mint chip variation)
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Kream Cheeze Frosting
Lavender Chocolate Bars

Some honorable mentions are the Mango Sorbet, Coconut Ice Kream, Chocolate-Covered Bananas, and the Almond-Goji Cacao Chip Cookies. Ani’s Raw Food Desserts is actually pretty reasonably priced at only $17.95 ($12.21 on Amazon) and has full color photography throughout with tons of pictures to let you know if you’re creation is on the right track or not, or just to drool over from time to time. I’d also say about 95% of the recipes in the book require no dehydrator so they’re friendly to the lay-person who hasn’t shelled out $400 on a dehydrator just yet.


  1. Love your new site! (It is redesigned, right? I'm not crazy? Maybe the heat is getting to me!) Everything in this book sounds delicious, but I don't trust myself with a dessert cookbook. It sure wouldn't take 2 weeks for me to eat a dessert--especially key lime + chocolate. Have a great weekend!

  2. The heat has gotten to you Jackie I changed the blog around a bit. The Key lime + chocolate is definitely sinful, but I've managed to still have 3 bon bons left in the freezer, untouched. But I'm down to only 1 key lime kream bar and I have feeling it's going to be gone within the next 15 minutes!


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